COCONUT – How your body uses this exotic super food


Southern parts of India have been well known for their love and preference for this AWESOME super food coconut, that we’ve all now adopted into our everyday lives.

Not only is their curry generously sprinkled with coconut in all its variation, but also their daily skin regime in one way or the other will include a healthy smothering of coconut oil. Via

This got us fascinated and curious. Is the coconut really as good for us on the inside and out as we’re all told?

The odd shaped nut grows on trees and the term ‘coco’ dates back to the 16th century and literally translates as ‘skull’ or ‘head’. The outer shell is made of a fibrous husk and is used to make doormats and other materials that need to be tough and hard wearing!

Check outside your front door – You may well be walking over its husk!

Crack open its superfood goodness

How your body uses superfood coconut
Oh so good for you Coconut flesh – via

The list of health benefits really are endless, whilst looking into this exotic superfood we counted at least 100 uses! Its benefits include weight loss, better brain function, skin health and many more.

Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. Similar to butter, it solidifies in cooler temperatures and melts in warm temperatures; which is usually an indicator of how high the fat content is.

In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated.

BUT hold your horses, stay with us! The saturated fats in the oil may increase “good” HDL cholesterol in your body, but also help convert the “bad” LDL cholesterol into a less harmful form.

Our body has the innate ability to use its oil to its full extent, we absorb all of the fat AND we can metabolize it for optimum use! via

Soft and supple!

We heard on the nut grapevine, just how AWESOME the oil is supposed to be for your skin and hands.
For years people in the ‘coco know’ have been using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.

How your body uses superfood coconut
Natural skin moisturizer via

In the Indy Chef kitchen after a long day of baking, cooking up tantalizing meals and researching recipes we’re always looking for cream to apply to our hands.

We used it as a replacement to our usual hand cream and found the oil did an amazing job and left our skin super soft and it smells devine.

It’s also used to reduce wrinkles. Simply dab around the eyes, leave the oil on overnight to soak in, and wake up looking refreshed.

In the aid of research, we’re busy putting this one to the test! 😉

Coconut oil also hydrates very dry skin, and helps to soothe skin after shaving. As a bonus, the oil has a natural SPF and is great to protect your skin from sun damage.

We also used it as a hair de-tangler. Rub the oil between your palms and then onto wet hair before combing through. Your kids will appreciate it – no more tangled screams!

Bulletproof superfood

When it comes to using coconut in recipes, the usages are so diverse. We’re overwhelmed with what to test first….

Coconut oil has a naturally high smoke point, so it’s great for frying. It’s also super efficient at ensuring food doesn’t stick to the pan – No need for non stick cooking spray.

Don’t like the taste of coconut? Fear not – you can buy odourless varieties, so no excuses!

superfood coconut
Delicious grilled lamb chops

We added coconut to the grill when we were cooking up a lamb chop weekend feast. We spooned a healthy dose into our breakfast oats AND we even spread a little on our Sweet potato breakfast bread.

Indy Chef Tip: Warm the breakfast bread gently and spread on the coconut oil, it gently absorbs into the loaf and tastes gorgeous! Such a great healthy fall breakfast recipe.

superfood coconut
Liven up breakfast oats with coconut

A trend we have yet to try is ‘bulletproof coffee’. Coconut oil is the secret yet key ingredient in this new food trend and we can’t wait to give it ago!

the best way your body uses superfood coconut
Bulletproof coffee with coconut oil read more

Drip coffee is infused with grass fed organic butter and organic cold-pressed coconut oil, the blend is then whisked together and you’re presented with a rich, creamy coffee!

It’s been thought this trendy brew can help people lose weight and sharpen their minds. The extra fat from the butter can help you recover from a previous days workout.

WOW, now that sounds like a coffee we could do with on a Monday morning! How about you?

Diversity is the coconut of life

There’s more to a coconut than just its oil. The inside of a coconut is called ‘flesh’ and can be eaten raw, toasted, shredded, dried, then ground to make flour and pressed to produce oil.

Inside you’ll also be presented with a light, sweet and delicious liquid – Coconut water!

Now available in most grocery stores, the exotic nuts water is supposed to quench your thirst quicker and more efficiently than water. It also pumps your body with lively vitamins and minerals.

We are in LUST with our coconut and lime traybake. We added shredded, dried coconut flesh to the dry mix and the topping and it really added such a depth of flavour.

Indy Chef tip: Why not substitute some of the butter for coconut oil too? Super healthy, super nutty and super delicious.

how your body uses superfood coconut
Zesty, exotic lime and coconut sponge

Give this lovely rustic nut a chance and let the delicious and versatile superfood into your life.

Your body, skin and health will thank you for it, and with all the baking and cooking you’ll be testing, your family will thank you too!

Nut Cracker?!

Coconuts are much cheaper when they’re purchased whole – Cracking one open is another skill! Check out this easy video clip and GET CRACKING!


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Cozy up with inspired vibrant vegetable dishes selected for you

It’s that time of year again when seasonal vibrant vegetables are in abundance and we get super excited about what we can cook and enjoy. In the Indy Chef kitchen we all agree that fall and food go together like Fred and Wilma or Will and Grace! .

Fall is a season that creeps upon us, we all start to pack away our summer clothes and dig out our warm jumpers, big long scarfs and thick socks. Fall means leaves are turning beautiful shades of golden brown, light orange and pale green.

Trees are slowly letting go of their impressive summer coats and we have the pleasure of kicking through leaves in parks and backyards.

Take a deep breath of fresh fall air and look forward to getting home and cooking up a warming recipe we can cozy down and tuck into.

Time to turbo charge vegetables!

Vibrant seasonal vegetables
Vibrant seasonal vegetables – Via

The longer you cook with vegetable, you soon begin to realize the interesting and most versatile part of the dish is not the meat – it’s the Veg!

Visit any market and you’ll see them changing all the time, they come and go with each season and finding ways to cook with them requires more than just throwing a chicken in the oven or a pork steak on the grill – although there’s nothing wrong with that either!

In the Indy Chef kitchen, we worked out we’ve collectively been cooking with vegetables for over 50 years – and we don’t look a day over 20! Our recipes have grown, changed and improved and we LOVE testing out new recipes!

We’ve chosen a few of our veggie favorites for you to ‘hunker’ down on this fall.

Get ready, grab a peeler, grab a sharp knife or whatever kitchen ware you need and be prepared to tackle some seriously vibrant veggies and cook up some awesome dishes.

Indy Chef promise: Even the meat eaters of your household will LOVE these recipes! Sorry – no money back guarantee on this statement 😉

Hunker down with stovetop Brussel Sprouts

Vibrant vegetables dishes
Stovetop Sprouts with walnuts and Sage Via

Brussel sprouts are a huge food trend at the moment and we cannot get enough of them! They are so versatile and you can literally eat and cover them with anything and you’ll be presented with a wholesome, tasty dish.

We love this simple stovetop recipe; it’s easy, quick and means you have less to tidy away too.

Indy Chef Tip: Wash your sliced sprouts and sage leaves and then give them a good spin in this! Quick, easy and clean veggies in no time at all.

Indian Aloo Baingan – Potato Eggplant Curry

Vibrant vegetables dishes
Aloo Baingan – Potato eggplant curry – via

Oh yes we did! We found an amazingly tasty eggplant curry!

You’ll never want to order take out again – just sayin!

Plump and squeaky eggplant can be a little tricky to know what to do with – we made it our mission to find a superbly easy recipe to make the most of our vibrant purple friend.

Many Indian curry’s will follow this simple recipe. Throw some authentic spices into a pan, choose your veggies and protein and simmer slowly until the liquid has been perfectly drunk by all the thirsty vibrant vegetables. Easy, right?

In this Indian curry recipe, potatoes, eggplants and tomato’s are squished in a pan and left to simmer until cooked to your preference. We simply LOVE when the veg goes soft, plump and flavorsome.

Large squeaky eggplants

Some eggplants, especially the larger variety can take much longer to cook. Cube them small and cook them for 5 minutes before adding the potatoes.

Serve the Aloo Baingan with flatbread like Rotis, Parathas, Naan and Dal, or with rice, cooked grains.

Indy Chef Tip: Add cooked chickpeas or any kind of meat to make it into a gorgeous midweek meal option.

WHOLE Roasty Toasty Onions

Vibrant Vegetables Dishes
Whole Roasty Toasty Onions via

Do you know your Onions? Well, we do now!

We never thought that the humble onion could taste so good, so quick. This Whole Roasty Toasty Onions recipe was such a winner in the Indy Chef kitchen and we simply loved the addition of the heady herb ‘rosemary‘.

Did you know there are literally hundreds of varieties of Onions; many coming in and out of the shops with the change of seasons and all with their own unique shape, taste and color.



IndyChef spring onion crop

We used the last of the Indy Chef kitchen crop of giant Spring Onions (Yep – they were harvested in Spring)!

They tasted super sweet and delicious in this recipe.

Indy Chef Tip: We found most Onions worked really well in the recipe, although the smaller the onion the less time you roast – Simple!

 Crispy, crunchy Zuchini bites with Aioli Dip

Vibrant vegetables dishes
Versatile Zuchini – via

Zuchini is one of those veggies that instantly make us feel comforted and safe. It comes in all shapes and sizes, you can buy Zuchini in vibrant green or a golden corn yellow.

We just love cooking with this versatile vegetable. We wanted to add a little crunchy crispiness to our veggie recipes and these more-ish Zuchini bites will leave you wishing you’d made more!

These golden brown little nuggets taste inspiring when dipped in Aioli dip. The crispy crunch of the bites coupled with the subtle yet glorious garlic dip really will be a super addition to your mealtime. Serve the bites as a side to a healthy vibrant orange spinach salad or serve as an appetizer.

Vibrant vegetables dishes
Crispy, crunchy Zuchini Bites with Aioli Dip

Indy Chef Tip: When making the Aioli dip, use this handy garlic press to get a super smooth consistency – not a chunky piece of garlic in site!

The thrill of a grill

Grilling is a fab way of using up surplus vegetables; serve them with a juicy piece of salmon or hunk of tasty steak. Need a helpful reminder on the best way to grill your veg – check out this clip.

We hope you feel inspired to turbo charge your vegetable recipes! Fresh or frozen, vegetables can be a healthy, quick and inspiring way to enjoy your food. They’ll quite happily sit on the side of a big meat feast too – so enjoy and get cooking!

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How to make the BEST Zurrapa to impress your friends


What is Zurrapa we hear you cry?!

Zurrapa is the amber nectar of Spain. When you first stumble across this delicious Spanish dish, you won’t fail to be amazed by its incredible color!

The rich and decadent paprika gives Zurrapa its notorious bright orange halo!

Zurrapa is from the Ronda region in Spain and is a deliciously, heady mix of lard, fresh garlic, vinegar, shredded pork meat and paprika.

In Spain they eat Zurrapa as a tapas, it’s smothered on fresh, crunchy warm bread and is typically munched on for lunch or breakfast!

The best zurrapa recipes to impress
Spanish breakfast tapas via

You can only buy Zurrappa from regional and local markets throughout Spain and head to any market over the weekend and you’ll be at the end of a HUGE queue of animated Spaniards waiting for their fix of this delicious dish.

A dinner party Appetizer to Impress

We’re always looking for new ways to liven up our appetizers for a dinner party and this recipe really does IMPRESS. It’s such a great talking point too – You’ll hear the cries of ‘WOW who knew you could make this AWESOME European dish’!

Don’t get us wrong – there’s nothing wrong with simply made canapes at a dinner party; from bruschetta, bitesize salmon biscuits to delicious baked figs wrapped in ham, we’re certainly partial to eating a few!

The best zurrapa to impress
Bite size Salmon Biscuits

BUT if you love food as much as we do, you’ll always be on the look out for new and exciting recipes, well Zurrapa is your chance to SHINE!

Prepare for recipe indulgence

Now we want you to be prepared. This recipe is not for the faint hearted, it does include lard and meat and it’s just not the same without these two important ingredients.

We have tried lard substitutes but it doesn’t taste anywhere nearly as authentic as it should.

A little food indulgence every now and then is part of a healthy and varied diet – so embrace the lard and make every mouthful count!

We have chosen to use pork in this recipe, but you can use chicken and even fish, it’s up to you to personalize it to your tastes!

Without further ado – Let’s make the BEST Zurrapa to impress your friends!

The best Zurrapa recipe
Vibrant and rich Zurrapa via

Zurrapa meat is best served when it has been marinated for at least 24 – 48 hours, so if you have time, it’s worth the wait!


The recipe produces approx 4 cups of Zurrapa. Plenty to serve as canapes for a large dinner party with plenty of leftovers. The recipe can be made up to 7 days ahead and keeps well in the fridge.


2lbs skinless, boneless pork shoulder cut into 1″ pieces

1lb pork belly, skin removed and reserved, cut into 1″ pieces

4 garlic cloves – crushed or pressed

1 cup of malted vinegar

1/2 cup of water

3 tsp ground paprika

1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

2 bay leaves

the best Zurrapa to impress
Freshly cut pork belly via


Place pork shoulder, belly and skin in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, bay leaves, paprika, vinegar and ½ cup water. At this point you can choose to place it in the fridge and let it marinate for 24 – 48 hours. The flavours will of course intensify and the meat will tenderize further.

When you’re ready to cook the meat, preheat the oven to 275°. Cover and braise, stirring occasionally until the succulent pork meat is falling-apart and the belly fat is soft. Usually around 3 – 4 hours hours, turn the oven down for the last hour.

Once cooked, remove the bay leaves and let the pork meat rest for around 10 minutes.

Transfer the meat and skin to a large bowl.

Carefully pour the warm fat and any leftover cooking liquid into a heatproof cup or jug. This is the amber nectar of the recipe, so be careful not to waste any!

Roughly shred the meat, shredding it as thick or thin as you prefer. Pour in the leftover fat and combine with the meat until the mixture looks and feels like a paste (but in a good way). ;-))

If you want the mixture to be a vibrant orange, feel free to add another tsp of paprika at this point. Season with salt and the nutmeg. Taste and adjust as necessary!

Place the warm Zurrapa into a bowl and let it set and cool in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

To serve – Spread lightly on toasted bread, fresh halved figs or add a small spoonful onto a boiled quails egg! Zurrapa is a sure way to IMPRESS your dinner party guests!

The best zurrapa to impress your friends
Zurrapa filled quails eggs? – Yes please! via

Need a little helping hand boiling and peeling your ‘incy wincy’ quail eggs??

Check out this helpful clip!

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‘Oh so good’ Olives and 5 amazing things to do with them
5 things to do with olives
Oh so good Olives

Olives have been a part of the human diet for thousands of years, long before the canning industry, grocery stores, and martinis came into play.

But a few decades ago, your average American knew only a few varieties! Some were green, some were black and some were pitted. Simple!

Although the best ones were pimento-stuffed and that was that.

Yet olives are fantastically diverse and equally versatile, whether ground into spreads and tapenades, tossed into salads, simmered in stews and sauces, plopped into martinis, or eaten straight out of your hand.

Their sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent flavors are singularly complex, making them an essential tool in any home cooks arsenal.

Did you know there are no green olive trees! The color of an olive is an indication of its ripeness. Green olives ripen and become black olives.

Or rather, they transform from green to light brown, to a vibrant red and purple, to the deepest, darkest black. In general, the darker the olive, the riper it was when it was plucked from the tree.


Preserve your own Olives!

5 amazing things to do with olives
Mediterranean preserved olives  – via

Preserving our own olives gives you the chance to add whatever ingredients you choose.

Fancy a chilli kick in your preserve or a subtle lemon and lime hint of flavor, the world is your ‘olive’ (see what we did there)?!

When we tested this recipe, we found that most olives preserve well, we’re just LOVIN green olives at the moment and this recipe uses them in all their olive glory!

You’ll need a little patience to be able to tuck into your delicious preserved olives, but we guarantee it’ll be worth the wait.

Indy Chef tip: Be BRAVE and use your own choice of herbs in this recipe – make it unique and impress your family with your own preserved olives.

Get stuffed! ‘in a good way’

5 amazing things to do with olives
Lovely juicy blue cheese stuffed olives – via

Can you think of anything better than arriving at a dinner party and being presented with a plate lined with succulent stuffed olives?

These easy stuffed olive recipes will leave you wanting to serve them at every opportunity. You will be throwing a dinner party just so you can show off your olive stuffing skills…..

The larger the olive, the easier the stuffing. We used queen Kalamata olives and they were delicious.

Indy Chef Tip: Experiment with the cheeses, we found a strong blue cheese tasted AWESOME.

 DEEP fried Olives

5 amazing things to do with olives
Deep fried olives – via

The wonderful thing (amongst many) 😉 about olives is their size! Simply perfect for popping into your mouth.

You can even politely chew down on one whilst trying to hold a conversation – try it?!

Deep fried olives really were a revelation in the Indy Chef kitchen and we were simply blown away by just how lovely this recipe went down.

Indy Chef tip: They’re best served warm and are a perfect accompaniment to fresh fish too!

Brush up on your Bruschetta

5 amazing things to do with olives
Bruschetta with tomatoes, olives and basil

We could not leave out this humble, heady mix of Italian cooking at its best!

The first thing to remember is not to judge by appearance alone. While bruschetta, with its history spanning centuries of Tuscan tradition, may seem like just a slice of garnished bread.

Bruschetta it is actually one of the most flavorful, enjoyable dishes in the Italian repertoire. It’s beloved for its disarming and simple deliciousness, and its high-quality – but affordable – ingredients.

The history of the bruschetta dates back to the Etruscan age: while occupying the land between Rome and Tuscany, they began dressing the local, bread and baking slices in ovens.

Before placing it in the oven, tradition calls for brushing it with a clove of garlic and drizzling a bit of olive oil over each slice.


5 amazing things to do with olives
The Tuscan farmers recipe – Delicious Bruschetta

Farmers believe that the oil should be very young and recently pressed and that bruschetta is best accompanied by a glass of wine. As an old Italian proverb goes, “Day-old bread, month-old oil, and year-old wine”. Who are we to argue!

We’re sure you’ll LOVE this simple yet delicious recipe. Balissimo!  Via

Homemade olive BREAD

We cannot resist a recipe that promises a delicious freshly cooked bread, because let’s face it, who can resist the temptation of homemade bread?

The thought of smothering a warm piece of bread with locally sourced honey or freshly churned butter fills us with joy and bread GREED!

We adore HONEY in the Indy Chef kitchen and we’re always finding ways we can include it in our recipes.

Check out this super easy video recipe and get ready for the smell of fresh bread wafting around your home….

Olives really are versatile bundles of deliciousness. First of all they’re great for our health and their innate ability to be thrown into most recipes and still taste amazing make them a winner in our kitchen.

What will you do with yours??

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Easy Cauliflower recipes you will want to make now

All hail the new kid on the vegetable block – Cauliflower!

Who doesn’t love a good easy cauliflower recipe? We all love the word ‘easy’, but when you throw the word cauliflower into the mix, does it bring up visions of a soft overcooked (slightly smelly) vegetable served by your mom when you were growing up? – YEP us too.

This pale and interesting vegetable is part of the brassica family and with brussel sprouts and broccoli as its more popular cousins, it’s about time it held centre stage.

Easy Cauliflower recipes
Room for one more Cauliflower?

Originating in Cyprus, this odd looking veggie hitched a ride through France and Italy before finally landing on American shores in the late 1800’s; where it was cultivated first in Margaretville! Via

Check out the load of cauliflowers waiting to furnish the tables of our early ancestors!

Cauliflower is such a trendy food right now, we just had to test out a few easy cauliflower recipes in the Indy Chef kitchen.

Blood, sweat and chef tears have gone into our recipe search, we’ve made Cauliflower Rice, Roasted Cauliflower, Buffalo Cauliflower and Cauliflower steaks and we even put one in a CAKE; all in the name of finding the best recipes for you!

Where to buy your new best veggie friend?

Seasonal fruit and veg – Spot the Cauliflower!

Farmers markets are a great source of seasonal veg and fruit.

Find your local market and choose your very own lovingly grown caulie.

The great thing about farmers markets, is they sell them exactly as grown, they don’t pick the prettiest or most rounded Cauliflower, what you see is what you get!

In our eyes that’s how it should be! Just make sure you choose one big enough for a couple of our delectable recipes!

If you’re unable to reach your local farmers market, Cauliflowers are now in season and taking their time in the limelight – most grocery stores will be stocking up on this trendy veggie!

Grab your ‘Caulie’ and lets get COOKING!

Quick, healthy and easy Cauliflower steak

Easy cauliflower recipes
Healthy Cauliflower steaks via

We have to say we were surprised at just how delicious this Cauliflower steak tasted!

It may not be enough to convince the hardy meat eaters in the family, but as a quick and incredibly healthy side dish or main meal for those willing, it really does taste fabulous and is a great talking point at the table!

Homemade date puree really adds a depth of flavour to the steaks and it’s super fun cooking them in the frying pan, it almost feels like the real steak deal.

Indy Chef tip:  Once you’ve soaked the dates in water, press them in a garlic press, the chunky consistency is just perfect and it’s quicker too!

Roasted Cauliflower and Greens Soup with Rye Toasts

Easy cauliflower recipes
Roasted Cauliflower & greens soup via

This soup recipe is ‘souper’ easy to make and the rye toasts really compliment all the earthy flavours of the soup.

We’re big fans of greens in the Indy Chef kitchen and love to add them into a recipe wherever possible. Sssshhh the kids will never know…

We found roasting added an incredible depth of flavour to the soup. We guarantee this will be a winter winner.

This is definitely what we’d class as an easy cauliflower recipe for when you need to put a meal on the table in super quick time.

Simple slow roasted Cauliflower with Golden Raisins

easy cauliflower recipe
Slow roasted cauliflower with plump raisins via

Oven-roasting cauliflower slowly gives you the same crispy florets and concentrated flavor as pan-frying, without all the messy grease.

As the cauliflower roasts in this recipe, you have time to crisp up some breadcrumbs and plump some raisins in sherry vinegar.

Simply toss everything together with some garlic, red pepper flakes, and parsley. Serve this flavorful side dish next to a grilled pork loin or a seared steak.

Indy Chef tip: Wash your Parsley leaves before cutting and give them a quick dry in a salad spinner – NO soggy herbs in your dish!

Healthy Cauliflower ‘nice’ rice

easy cauliflower recipes
Cauliflower rice – leader of the pack via

We can assure you; even the ‘caulie haters’ in the family will absolutely love this cauliflower rice dish. Since carbs have been getting a bad press, we’ve all been looking for an alternative!

This rice dish is superbly delicious and when mixed with veggies and spices takes on an arrogance in just how good it tastes.

Place it on the table with other dishes and it’ll stand out, all proud and tasty.

This dish is definitely a favorite in the Indy Chef kitchen – finally a recipe we all agree on. What will you think?!

Indy Chef tip: Serve with our spicy, exotic Indian coconut curry dish. It’ll be a weekend winner.

Lemon Cauliflower Cake

easy cauliflower recipes
Lemon cauliflower cake See more…

Cauliflower in a cake we hear you cry! We know, but bear with us on this one. You’ll LOVE this Lemon cake recipe.

The cauliflower in this recipe acts as a beautiful substitute for nuts — something many raw cakes are rich in, and also something many people can’t tolerate (or afford sometimes).

It also lightens up the cake considerably. The second veggie hidden in the cake is avocado, which lends the cake a beautiful creaminess without any added oils. Two veggies in one cake – now surely that means we can eat more than one slice?!

One tip I will share with you on the subject though is to use fresh / good quality cauliflower. When veggies start to go off their flavors intensify quite a bit.

Fresh caulie doesn’t have a natural strong flavor, which makes it a great blank canvas to work with.

More importantly don’t forget to enjoy the shock on people’s faces when you tell them the main ingredient whilst they’re enjoying their first slice! — arguably the best part of the whole experience.

Indy Chef tip: Simple – Give this easy cauliflower recipe a try; you won’t be disappointed!

I hope we’ve shown you just how versatile and deliciously AWESOME and easy cauliflower is to cook with?! You now have a cost effective and healthy recipe repertoire and it’s always fun to try out trendy new recipes too!

Enjoy your ‘caulie’ experience and share your pictures with us – we’d love to hear from you.

Just in case you’re a little rusty with your knife skills, we’ve found this video clip to help you on your way. Happy cooking.



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Tantalizing tasty pasta recipes for when you need an easy midweek meal

Easy pasta recipes are the midweek meal savour for people all across the globe!  Midweek and pasta go together like Santa and Christmas, turkey and thanksgiving or pumpkins and halloween!

One would just not feel right without the other! OK – so we may be over reacting slightly, but many an Indy Chef kitchen midweek family meal has been saved by an easy tasty pasta recipe.

How would we cope without its safe and reassuring presence in our pantry? We can all (yes even YOU) open our pantry’s and see a bag of pasta sitting there; usually half opened and waiting for its next outing.

All little pasta history

Tantalizing tasty pasta recipes for when you need an easy midweek meal
Delicious fresh pasta via

The crazy world of delicious pasta is teeming with distinctive varieties, differing in shape, history, and gastronomical purpose.

There are two major classifications: pasta fresca (fresh) and pasta secca (dried). There are more than 400 unique types of pasta; from sheets, strips, long strands, cylinders, unique shapes and so many varied flavors.

Varying from the basics of white pasta, light flavors and colors can be added to pasta with egg yolk, spinach, tomato paste, chocolate, and even squid ink. The individual shape and texture given to pasta can be somewhat of a code in determining the proper sauce.

A simple rule of thumb would be as follows: thick pasta = thick sauce, light pasta = light sauce. Sounds easy to us! Via

Tantalizing tasty pasta recipes for when you need an easy midweek meal
Squid ink midweek pasta via

A Passion for Pasta Recipes

Finding new pasta recipes are a passion of ours and in the Indy Chef kitchen we often share recipes or spend time debating which classic pasta recipe would be the one we would take to a desert island. Would it be a shrimp pasta recipe, pasta in a simple tomato and basil sauce or pasta simply drizzled with extra virgin olive oil?

Which one would you choose? SEE – Its not an easy decision?!

Easy pasta recipes for midweek mealtimes
Easy pasta recipes we love – via


Don’t you agree that pasta as had a hard time over recent years? Pasta is often being targeted due to its high carbohydrate values BUT when eaten as part of a balanced diet, pasta can and should be enjoyed as part of your family’s midweek mealtimes.

Keeping your midweek meals in mind and especially meals you can cook quickly and easily for your family are the motivation for the below selection of delicious pasta recipes. Each offer a different flavour and give you the chance to experiment with pasta shapes too!

Which one will you cook first?

Get your pasta to the ready!

One pot recipes are the new buzzwords; as we all look to save time and washing up, one pot meal recipes have grown! We’re BIG fans of the one pot meal for a midweek pasta dish option and our first recipe pays homage to throwing all your ingredients in one pot and being presented with a super tasty meal! Balissimo!

One pot Penne Arrabiata

One pot Penne Arrabiata is easy, delicious, healthy and offers a fabulous midweek option! This delicious midweek dish packs a punch of healthy ingredients, including fresh veggies and spices.

Passionate pasta easy midweek meal
One pot Penne Arrabiata pasta

Indy Chef Tip: Penne works really well in this recipe as the thick sauce gathers inside the tubes, each bite should be full of saucy goodness!

Garlic and Basil Salmon Pasta

Garlic has the ability to lift so many dishes and for us it’s a pantry staple we’re never without. This dish is also an awesome way of using up leftovers. If you’ve got leftover smoked salmon from your weekend salmon biscuit recipe, great, just throw it into this dish and you’ve got a quick, easy and delicious meal.

See we think of everything!!

Our garlic, basil and salmon pasta can be on the table within 15 minutes. Fuss free, easy, midweek cooking at its best. If you are looking to lighten up on the dairy, you can easily replace the butter and cream for an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or nutty and sweet rapeseed oil.

Passionate pasta recipes for easy midweek meals
Delicious midweek pasta recipe

Indy Chef Tip – You can use any leftover fish in this recipe, shrimps work especially well too!

Stove Top Mac ‘N’ Cheese – An American classic

Passionate easy pasta recipe for midweek mealtimes
Delicious Mac and Cheese pasta

No midweek pasta recipe option would be the same without an American classic we all know and love, Mac and Cheese. And to keep things simple, we make ours on the stove.

Sometimes we crave a classic pasta dish and want a meal that’s warming, hearty and ultimately superbly tasty. Stove top Mac and Cheese can be ready and served to your hungry family within 30 minutes! Yummo!

We found this hard to believe too, but did you know Mac ‘n’ Cheese was brought to America by the Brits?! It was traditionally baked in an oven, made using a strong English cheddar and finally topped with breadcrumbs!

Our cheesey recipe includes a mixture of two cheeses, each give a different taste and texture.

Passionate easy pasta recipe for mid week mealtimes
Delicious Mac and Cheese Pasta

Indy Chef Tip: Most cheeses work well in this recipe, however cheeses that are slightly softer will melt better and give a thicker sauce.

Healthy Bacon & Pumpkin Pasta

Easy midweek mealtime pasta recipe
Healthy pumpkin pasta recipe via

No fall recipe is complete without paying homage to our beautifully vibrant orange friend – PUMPKIN.

This easy and delicious Bacon and Pumpkin pasta is low fat and low sugar, so when you need a healthy quick nutritious meal, we’ve got you covered!

Who says pumpkin is for sweet dishes only? – Not us!

Indy Chef Tip: If you’re dairy free, try using coconut milk, it will add depth of exotic flavour.

Super Quick – Anelletti pasta with sausage and greens

Pasta recipe for easy midweek mealtimes
Easy midweek sausage and greens pasta via

When you’re scrambling around for a quick and easy midweek meal, try this delicious pasta recipe!

We’re really smitten with these little pasta rings from Trader Joe’s – they’re fun to cook and eat! Kids love them too.

We bought the sausage from our favorite farm vendor at the local farmers market, a delicious, tasty, homemade spicy Italian sausage. We also bought a few handfuls of fresh spring spinach and some new garlic.

This is a good dish to demonstrate how just a small amount of meat can flavor and deepen a whole dish and you don’t need much to make it taste great and be filling. The dish will be ready to go in literally 15 minutes, and you can substitute with any pasta, ground meat, or greens.

Remember to give your greens a good wash before adding to the dish – Try using this!

Indy Chef Tip: Mozzarella will melt beautifully in the dish and give a light subtle cheese flavor. If you want more of a cheese punch, simply stir in some grated parmesan just before serving! Yummo!

The pasta dishes that we’ve selected can easily be made Gluten free and vegetarian. Gluten free pasta is now readily available in most supermarkets and tastes just as delicious.

IF you find yourself with time and you happen to be standing there, with your apron on and the bag of pasta flour that’s been sitting in the pantry at the ready – take a look at this cute and authentic video on “How to make fresh pasta!” Go on, give it a try.

We love Nonna!

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10 on-trend foodie ideas to try in October just for you

In the Indy Chef kitchen we look forward to all the new foodie ideas and trends a new season brings and October is no exception.

Foodie ideas and trends do not always have to be about baking and cooking new recipes or using a new ingredient, they can be as simple as finding a new farmers market in your local area or attending a local food festival.

On our quest in searching for trendy food stuff we have found some corking ideas and treats for you!

We have selected our top favourite on-trend foodie ideas we feel are worthy of sharing with you – our fabulous readers!

1. Eat your Greens (including Seaweed)

On trend foodie ideas for fall
On trend food – Seaweed

No longer is seaweed just reserved for laying sadly along seashores or adorning Sushi, it’s an ingredient definitely worth stocking up on. It’s packed full of nutritional benefits including vitamin K, protein and Iodine.

You can buy Seaweed in lots of different forms, we personally love using dried Seaweed. Simply crumble the dried Seaweed over a winter orange and spinach salad or a thai chicken soup for an earthy warm flavour, extra crunch and a punch of healthy goodness. The kids won’t even realise you’re adding an extra dose of greens to mealtimes…shhh!  🙂

2. Hibernate with cherry juice

10 on-trend foodie ideas to try in October just for you
On trend Cherry juice via

Tart cherries are one of the few natural sources of melatonin, which is responsible for the regulation of our body’s internal clock and sleep-wake cycle. Researchers believe it’s the high does of melatonin in tart cherries that might help you sleep better at night. So get more into you if you’re needing some restful sleep.

You can easily get this extra does of melatonin by simply drinking two 8-ounce servings of cherry juice daily. Enjoy a glass in the morning with breakfast and incorporate another in your evening routine. Or enjoy a handful of dried tart cherries as an after dinner snack. You might find that you’re long nights of tossing and turning or counting sheep are over.


3. Maximise your muffin tin

10 on trend foodie ideas for October
Maximise your muffin tin for an on trend foodie idea Via

Use your muffin tin to make mini cornbreads, perfect for lunches and easy to freeze! Or why not create crunchy tortilla cups by moulding flour tortillas over an upside down muffin tin and baking until hard. Fill with chicken fajita for a tasty and easy lunchtime snack. What a great idea!

4. Go to a foodie mecca

10 on trend foodie ideas for October
Homemade ice cream with a side of maple bacon – On trend and tasty! Via

No matter what city you live in or around, as October hits, a feast of food festivals pop up and give us all the chance to walk amongst amazing smells and taste some totally awesome food! It’s a chance for small producers and food makers to show off their new creation and its also a chance for you to sample food you may never have eaten before, yummo!

Fancy home made creamy ice cream with a side of crispy maple bacon? A food festival could be the perfect place for you.

From wine and food festivals to weekend music and food events, check out your local area and pencil a food mecca in your October diary.

5. Get tech savvy and remember your food!

10 on-trend foodie ideas to try in October just for you
Tech Savvy on trend way to track your meal

Tracking what you eat can be a tedious practice. Food-tracking apps allow you to track your food throughout the day, for some people they use it track calories and for others they may want to remember what they cooked for dinner a week ago! Taking pictures of our food is a great way of remembering an awesome recipe or meal you want to create or enjoy again!

Here’s how the new APP works. You open the Lose It! APP and navigate to the Log tab. Tap the camera icon next to the meal or snack you’d like to log and either snap a photo or choose one from your library. The app will analyze the image and offer up suggestion as to what it may be.

Once you select the correct suggestion, you will then be able to choose the specific food from the APPs extensive food database of more than 7 million items.  A great idea if you are someone who likes to remember a GREAT meal and remember WHEN you enjoyed it. Via

If you need a tech break and like us, on occasion you just want to print a good old fashioned shopping list, we present to you our quick and easy FREE meal planner. Select one of our many recipes and even pencil in a few for the week ahead. You can then print off what you need to take to the grocery store! As busy moms ourselves, we are very proud of our quick and useful online planner. Did we mention it was FREE?!

6. Strike it lucky with Gold

10 on trend foodie ideas in October
Gold of the spice world – on trend and super healthy Turmeric Via

Don’t worry you won’t need to go digging for this gold!

Turmeric is our new best kitchen friend. Known for its amazing benefits to health, this wonder spice has been used in medicine for 1000’s of years! Turmeric has an earthy flavour and a slight spicy aftertaste. We like to simply shake over warm mashed potatoes or use it in our delicious Indian Chicken Coconut Curry, don’t be shy when it comes to using this fabulous versatile and ancient wonder spice. It’s a bit of gold we can all afford.

7. Listen in to food

Do you need a little ‘pick me up’ for your commute or when you are driving the kids to school? Then tune into The Menu a wondrous marvel of podcasts which cover food trends and foodie talking points, and has interviews with top chefs. Now that is multi tasking and foodie inspiration at your fingertips!

8. Work the season

10 on trend foodie ideas for October
Get with the trend and forage for your food in October –

A new season and elements it can bring present many opportunities for play and learning.

Foraging is becoming a growing trend in foodie groups and you can forage anywhere, even in urban areas. In Europe, it’s still quite common to see people picking up hazelnuts, mushrooms, walnuts, nettles and other goodies in urban green spaces.

Here in America most city parks have specific regulations against picking plants, but you’ll often find tons of unused fruit trees in people’s yards. Most homeowners will gladly let you pick some of their fruit if you ask politely first.

Apples grow readily this time of year – ask a neighbour if you can pick a few and make our sweet and flavoursome Apple and Cranberry Crisp.


 9. Make the most of your freezer

Using your freezer for leftovers is not a new concept we know! Open most freezers and there will be plenty of leftovers neatly frozen, waiting for their next outing to the family table. BUT we love to use our freezer for a bit of early ingredient prep.

10 on trend foodie ideas for October
Press your garlic to get ahead in your Autumn recipe prep.

Get ahead and press a few garlic cloves, place the crushed pieces in a freezer bag, mark the bag and you’ve got crushed garlic ready to add to your winter casseroles, how easy is that? You can also do the same with fresh herbs, give them a wash and spin them dry in your salad spinner, chop them up and place them in the freezer for the day when you just don’t want to face washing and chopping your herbs or are running short on time! The little bags take up minimal room in the freezer too!

 10. Retro Baking!

On a cold October Sunday afternoon, there is nothing better than to heat up the oven, dust off your apron and grab your whisks for a bit of baking. Retro baking is a foodie trend set to grace our kitchens this fall. Retro bakes are being taken to a new level, chefs are adding their own signature twists and classic recipes are being combined with modern ingredients to give the bakes a visual WOW and a full retro taste sensation. Stay tuned!

10 foodie trend ideas for October
Checkerboard Cake Macarons – Retro and on trend foodie idea Via

From decadent and light checkerboard cake macarons to the succulent and nostalgic carrot cake, retro bakes will be a trend we’ll all be eager to be a part of! We have our Indy Chef aprons on and ready to go!

We simply love our take on a classic Silky Smooth Lemon bar – zesty, fruity and colorful enough to brighten any dull autumn day. Try it out for yourself, you won’t be sorry!

10 on trend foodie ideas for October
Zesty Lemon Bar – Retro on trend foodie idea

It’s time to get your retro bake on!

Taking yourself out of your comfort zone this October, could lead you to a food festival, bake a load of retro treats for your family or even go foraging for seasonal fruits in your local area!

What will you choose to try this fall?


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Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy traybakes

Traybakes, bars, slices or whatever you like to call them have been around since we were knee high to our moms apron strings! Traybake recipes vary from sponges, brownies, flapjacks to no-bake rocky roads.

They are usually loaded with some kind of extravagant and delicious topping and are typically baked in a foil tray, baking sheet or oven dish and cut into perfectly lovely plump slices.

Out with the old and in with new – traybakes!

Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy traybakes
Delicious Plum traybake – via

In the Indy Chef kitchen, whilst looking for our top 5 traybakes we’ve been reminiscing over the many baking recipes we’ve found.

Unpretentious and unapologetically old-school, traybakes and bars are the stuff of Betty Crocker and “The Joy of Cooking,” tapping into our childhood nostalgia for food enjoyed on school buses and at soccer practice.

It seems almost anything counts as a bar or traybake, so long as it’s baked or assembled in a casserole dish or baking sheet – with plenty of topping to spare. Via

Inspiration has led us to share our amazingly tempting and EASY traybake and bars recipes with you! We’ve searched high and low, baked and baked again looking for the best traybakes and bars for you AND have also come up with a couple of our own recipes, so let’s do this!

Get your aprons to the ready, tie your hair back and clear down your counter top! Get ready to BAKE!

We don’t ‘do’ favorites in the Indy Chef kitchen (we love food too much) so in no particular order these are our top 5 traybakes and bars….

Zesty, Silky Lemon Bar

We’re very proud of our very own recipe, introducing zesty, melt in the mouth silky smooth Lemon bars! Unusually these bars have a pastry crust, but the crunch of the pastry against the smooth filling makes the extra effort worthwhile. We have used 8 common baking ingredients you should have in your pantry! If you’ve got surplus Lemons these bars are quick and easy to rustle up.

Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy traybakes
Silky smooth Lemon Bars

Indy Chef Tip:  Delicately devour a slice with a rich nutty coffee.

Double Chocolate Ganache Traybake

No baking repertoire is complete without a rich dark chocolate sponge! Our divine and utterly luxurious double chocolate traybake will not disappoint.

We’ve taken a classic chocolate sponge and added 100% cocoa nibs, the nibs gives the velvety sponge a depth of flavour and a very gentle chocolate crunch. If you don’t fancy adding the nibs to the sponge, gently sprinkle over the top of the Ganache.

Double Chocolate ganache traybake

When it comes to the ganache topping, we love our naughty addition of a little Jamaican rum! It adds a very gentle sweetness and is barely noticeable, it is of course optional, so if you’re baking this for kids you may want to reconsider and choose to leave it out.

Hosting a dinner party? – Be brave and serve the traybake as a dessert option and increase the amount of rum in the ganache – now who would turn away a boozy, chocolatey dessert?!

Double chocolate ganache traybake

Indy Chef Tip:  Tuck into a slice with liqourice root tea or frothy cappuccino

No Bake Gluten Free Granola Bars

Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy tray bakes
Healthy Granola traybake – Via

Granola bars have stood the test of baking time! Granola was first launched in the 1860’s – A New York Victorian doctor invented the healthy mix of oats, nuts and seeds to give his guests at his infamous spa, a healthy start to the day! Legendary Dr Kellogs introduced the recipe into the mainstream in the early 1900’s and we now snack on hundreds of different types of this breakfast staple.

Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy tray bakes
Super easy granola bar – via


We simply love these Granola Bars. The bars are made using only five ingredients and there’s no baking involved (unless you want to toast the nuts).

They’re super easy to whip up in a hurry!

OK, so not technically a traybake – but you still need a tray, you just don’t need the bake. They can easily be made Gluten free by replacing the oats with a gluten free version. Try using large oats, they add a fabulous chew and crunch to the granola bar.

Indy Chef Tip:  Enjoy a slice in the morning with a cup of filtered coffee

Apricot with Coconut Traybake

Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy traybakes
Moist and succulent Apricot traybake via

Coconut is like a fabulous medicine for cakes, it can make a simple sponge splendidly perky and a basic cookie dough taste superbly exotic and lovely.

In this simple traybake, the coconut perfectly compliments the juicy Apricots.

Using tinned Apricots add a succulent juiciness to the traybake sponge. The desiccated coconut absorbs the lovely Apricot juices to give a moist and warming traybake.

You won’t be disappointed by this lovely Apricot with coconut traybake.

Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy traybakes
Apricots pack a punch to your health

Did you know Apricots are rich in many plant antioxidants. The humble apricot is a great food that provides you with the protective effects of essential vitamins and minerals. These pretty orange little fruits give you protection against free radical damage. Bring us another slice of traybake please. Via

Four Layer Blackberry Jam & Chocolate Crumble Traybake (Dairy Free)

Time to get your bake on with our top 5 amazing, easy traybakes
Easy triple layer traybake

Melt-in-your-mouth Blackberry Jam and Chocolate Crumble Bars are made up of four amazing layers. Sweet, chocolatey, and even a little spicy. The base is surprisingly made from sweet potatoes and dates, giving it a soft, slightly chewy texture with a flavor similar to caramel.

The second layer is blackberry jam with a pinch of cayenne pepper and black pepper to give it more character. The chocolate layer marries with the date layer to offer a rich and fudgey chocolatey flavor. Finally the layers are topped with an easy oat crumble. Via

Our selection of diverse and uniquely delicious traybakes will keep you comforted and busy throughout the start of fall! Each bar has its place on your table, the difficult decision is in deciding which one to BAKE first.

Happy traybaking lovely readers and please do share your bakes with us – we’d love to hear from you.

We are throwing in an EXTRA recipe, Ssshhhh! Check out this Jam Donut traybake recipe!



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Make midweek Mexican inspired dishes innovative and healthy

Mexican food offers you a wide range of tasty spices and fresh, vibrant ingredients. Food has the magical power to evoke happy feelings and memories and for us on a cold fall evening and there is nothing better than a zesty warm corn salad or a comforting spicy chicken chilli.

When we’re cooking up our Mexican recipes in the Indy Chef kitchen, the plethora of fragrant smells remind us of dancing on a beach whilst sipping a fresh margarita with the smell of chicken fajitas freshly cooking on the beach grill. Aaaahhh!!

Food full of spices, zest and a little heat, can be great for our digestive systems and keeping those pesky germs away through the winter months. Spices such as cumin, cayennne and chilli all help to boost your immune systems to keep you and your family fighting fit.

If like us, you stand in front of the food aisles, thinking I MUST EAT, WHAT CAN I EAT AND WHAT WILL MY FAMILY EAT (usually in that order) then our quick and easy Mexican midweek recipes are perfect for you – Give ’em a try and find out for yourself!

As we’re feeling generous, if you need a hand planning your weekly meals then check out our amazingly easy and FREE meal planner, we created it just for you!  And yes, we did say FREE.

Midweek Mexican one pot dishes rule!

Casseroles are quick, easy one pot recipes and are great for feeding the freezer, simply double up on ingredients and freeze any leftovers for another day. The beauty of a casserole is that you can throw any ingredients you like into the pot, that bag of lentils that’s been sitting in your pantry for a few weeks have finally found a home!

We LOVE a warming Mexican casserole – simply throw canned tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, corn and any other veggies you fancy in a large casserole dish. Season with cumin, cayenne and chilli to taste, add enough stock to cover the ingredients and leave to simmer for 45 minutes. You will have a delicious, healthy mid week Mexican meal in no time at all.

If you have a household of meat eaters, you can easily add chicken or ground beef to the recipe.

Indy Chef Tip: Leftover chicken from the bone adds a depth of flavour to the casserole, just make sure you heat the meat through until its piping hot!

Serve with a large dollop of sour cream and a generous squeeze of zesty lime. Your kids will love this colorful and flavoursome dish!

Make midweek Mexican inspired dishes innovative and healthy
Delicious Mexican inspired dishes to warm the heart


Our one pot Mexican Quinoa will keep the vegetarians in your household happy. Quinoa is an ancient grain, we’re talking nearly 4000 years old and was first cultivated in Peru. We’ve now all embraced this diverse super food in sweet and savory recipes. We find in our recipe it adds a depth of earthy flavor which perfectly compliments the Mexican spices.

One Pot Mexican Quinoa
One Pot Mexican Quinoa – A healthy mexican meal

Soup for dinner – Are you kidding?!

OK, so we know that soup may not feel like it’s worthy enough for a mid week meal, but stay with us! A delicious and substantial soup when served with homemade bread or biscuits (yes we did say homemade), can offer carbs, protein and all around goodness to your family.

We introduce to you Crock pot chicken tortilla soup. 

YES it’s Mexican, YES it’s vibrant and YES it’s chicken and let’s face it, Chicken is the most consumed meat in America, so all the family love chicken – right?!

Make midweek Mexican inspired dishes innovative and healthy
Crock pot Mexican tortilla chicken soup – Filling & tasty
Tomato & corn soup
Mexican tomato and corn soup

Tomato and corn soup is a perfect mix between sweet and crunchy! Served with piping hot crunchy baked potatoes, this tasty little number is a great option for another Mexican themed mid week meal.

Roasting the tomato beforehand will make all the difference to the end flavour and adding the corn at the last minute will mean you are left with crunchy not soggy corn. Top with a sprinkle of cilantra and a spoonful of Sour Cream or Natural yoghurt and even a shake of paprika and you have an amazingly easy, tasty soup.

Don’t forget to get your baked potato’s out of the oven!

Indy chef Tip: Kids love using a salad spinner, when you have washed your cilantra, hand the task to one of the kids to give it a quick dry in the spinner before cutting.


An American muffin takes mealtime limelight!

Did you know the highest consumption of muffins in America is between Monday and Wednesday, with the average household munching on nearly 24 muffins a week!

BUT – Who said muffins were just for breakfast.

And what do American muffins have to do with Mexican food you ask?!

In the Indy Chef kitchen we’ve decided muffins are worthy enough to take centre stage on our mid week Mexican feast by throwing in a few extra ingredients. Our muffins contain healthy fats, carbs, protein and veggies, all pack a punch of muffin goodness to you and your family. We introduce to you our Zucchini, egg & pepper muffins.

Indy Chef tip: Add paprika and Chilli to the muffin mix for that hit of Mexican flavor!

Zucchini and egg muffins
Zucchini and egg muffins – Mexican meal with a twist

We serve our muffins warm from the oven with roast chicken and a bowl of warm and fresh seasonal vegetables. Easy, delicious and the kids will love eating muffins for dinner!

Your midweek meal times should be easy, quick and fun and Mexican food can offer all three! Once you have bought your spices, they will pretty much cover most of the meals you choose to make and with the diversity of being able to choose vegetables and meats you pack into your dishes, the recipes lend themselves to be as personal and unique as you want to make them.

So go on – Get cooking and embrace Mexican Food for your mid week meal options!

Excerpts Via


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How to make your family meal times easy and AWESOME!

It’s all in the preparation!

Family meal times can and often do happen in a disorganised flash. Many recipes promise you’ll have a simple, tasty meal on the table in no time at all. Only for you to find you’re still trying to find all the ingredients and utensils 15 minutes later. Sigh!

Being prepared is the art of cooking a meal in super quick fashion! If you have everything you need within easy reach the need to go hunting through your pantry half way through the recipe (often with mucky hands) will become a thing of your disorganised past!

Have you ever been to a friends kitchen and had kitchen envy at how family meal times are sleek and organised.

Do you feel like you are watching a perfectly rehearsed theatre production? All the family know their roles and a healthy delicious meal is on the table in a perfectly presented flurry of knives, forks and pretty plates in no time at all?! Yep – us too!!

Some people just have the innate ability to be able to follow a recipe, they know where everything is and thrive on the challenge of ensuring their family meal times are fuss free and easy. The kids are even in on the act too.

Well stress no more, we have a few ‘tried and tested’ hints and tips to help make your family meal times easy and AWESOME!

The art of reading a recipe

How you can make easy and awesome family meals

Take time to read through a recipe and find everything you need, place all the ingredients on the kitchen counter top so you can just grab as and when you need them!

Making sure you have all the kitchen utensils the recipe calls for at hand, will help too – there is nothing more annoying than using a bowl that’s too small for all your ingredients or trying to finely slice garlic because you couldn’t find your garlic press.

If like us, you like to break the rules of a recipe that’s fine too. Unlike baking, cooking’s not an exact science and you can experiment with your own measurements. Add a bit more chilli to a recipe if you like your dish hotter or use strong cheddar instead of parmesan.

Do you ever wonder why your dish never looks like the food in the pictures of the recipe? It’s not meant to; your dish is as individual as you and as long as it tastes nice and the family devour it, what more could you want?!  Besides, most recipe photos have been created in a professional test kitchen to make everything look perfect, so cut yourself some slack!

Short on Ingredients? Raid your pantry.

How you can make easy and awesome family meals
Family mealtime Pantry Pasta Marinara

When you’re short on time and the family are pounding the table for their dinner, using up those long forgotten pantry essentials will not only encourage you to use what you have, but will kick start you into being creative in the kitchen!

There’s nothing easier than boiling some dried pasta and topping it with jarred marinara sauce or a quick marinara made with canned tomatoes.  Quick and easy, that’s what we’re all about!


We’ve all got endless bags of open pasta in our pantry, I know I’m guilty of that, so why not mix your leftover bags of pasta together – the kids will love finding new shapes to munch on. Dinner doesn’t have to look perfect, so long as it tastes delicious, who cares what it looks like?!

Finish off your super quick pasta dish by tossing the pasta in the sauce and serving it family-style, in the middle of the table so everyone can help themselves, with toasted breadcrumbs as a garnish on top. Bellissimo!

Indy Chef Tip: Drain or spin your pasta to remove most of the water, but don’t let drained pasta sit and “dry off”.  As it cools, the starches will firm up and the pasta will stick together. Leave a small amount of water on the pasta, that is, don’t drain it and let it sit in the colander, drain it enough for the water to drain but leaving a little left on the pasta, quickly tip the pasta back into the pot and drizzle with some olive oil to coat the pasta, this way the sauce will stick better to the pasta as well. Add the sauce as soon as possible and serve!


Nutritious family meal times in 20 minutes?

How you can make easy and awesome family meals

Yes it is possible. Most Chefs can promise you a tasty meal in 15 minutes, but we like to build in a buffer!

An extra five minutes can make the difference between serving your family a meal in a cool and collected manner or rushing their meal to the table sweating, red faced and frustrated because you failed to prep and cook the meal in 15 minutes. Who want’s that?

Relax, chill out and take another five minutes. We won’t tell!

Our super tasty and easy Chinese Beef and Broccoli dish can be prepped and served to your family within 20 minutes (or less if you like a challenge). How cool’s that? Or, if you want to go ‘meatless’ for one day a week you could always substitute the Beef for Tofu or even Fish!

Your Family meal times should be a time to enjoy good food and catch up on your day, not a time to stress. So take your time and enjoy it.

Indy Chef Tip: Add as many vegetables as you like to the Fajita mix. Veggies such as peppers, zucchini, onion or even shredded carrot will boost your families veggie intake. So delicious, they’ll never know it’s got veggies in it and it’s actually good for them!

How about treating the family to a mid week family meal time Mexican favourite? Our quick Chicken Fajitas are nutritious and delicious, the kids will love building their own tortilla wraps.

Give in to Friday night take out Indy Chef style.

In the Indy Chef kitchen, we’ve all decided there’s one night of the week where we just want someone else to take care of cooking the family meal for us, and that’s Friday night.

After a long week cooking, organising and shopping, we think you deserve a break, seriously!

Simply hand this super easy Indian Chicken Coconut Curry or Pork Tikka Masala to your family and set them the task of cooking for you for a change. As long as kids are supervised by an adult, they’ll love to feel involved in the kitchen!

If you’re lucky enough to have a night in without the kids, spend time to cook the recipes with your loved one; cooking together can be both calming and enjoyable and a great way to catch up on what’s happened in your day.

How you can make easy and awesome family meals
Indian Pork Tikka Masala – Family mealtime favourite

We realise it’s not quite the ‘takeout’ you were thinking of, but the recipes are healthier and you know exactly what ingredients are in each dish. Besides, nine times out of ten your home cooked meal always ends up tasting better, so why not give it a try?

Your family may just enjoy spoiling you for a change too.

So instead of Family meal times being stressful, cut down the stress and remember to plan ahead. If you take time to know what you have in your pantry, meal times can be the well rehearsed theatre production you always dreamed of.  You just need to make sure you’re the leading lady or man!

Images Via and Via

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